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Who We Are

Manifesto

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower and connect people through the healing practice of glassblowing and ceramics.

We serve those who have been impacted by structural or individual trauma, including violently-injured youth, veterans, formerly-incarcerated individuals, undocumented and immigrant populations and Chicago Public School students on the South and West sides. We help people heal primarily by teaching glassblowing and ceramics - media that are typically expensive and difficult to access, but by their very nature elicit healing and build community. We provide a safe space, linkages to relevant wrap-around services, and professional and educational pathways for under-represented communities in the arts.

Our Vision

All Chicagoans, regardless of background or identity, have access to diverse, high quality art professionals, tools, and spaces in order to imagine and build creative and empowered communities that are safe, fair, and healthy.

Our Values

  • All people need creative outlets. This is especially true for communities that are traditionally under-served and under-resourced.
  • Art promotes empathy by helping us imagine ourselves in and as others. As such, art instruction involves attention to issues of social justice. We are committed to amplifying the creative voices of diverse populations with attention to differences related to poverty, age, ability, mental health, legal status, gender, racial and ethnic identity, language, and more.
  • Art endures over centuries as an artifact of our humanity and cultures. Art-making is universal, but is not universally supported or recognized. Everyone should have access to high quality tools and resources to add to our creative history.
  • People are not defined by their challenges or limitations. Art-making equalizes us.
  • Art-making is valuable in its own right, although it can build confidence generally and improve other facets of life.
  • Art programming should focus on asking questions, or inquiry, rather than solely on the product or process.
  • Creating a physically, emotionally, and relationally safe space for collaborative art-making can build the confidence amongst its participants that leads to a sense of belonging, pride, and, eventually, ownership, leadership, and responsibility.
  • Art as a practice demonstrates that failure is one part of human growth and encourages creative problem solving.
  • Art-making expands our capacity for joy.
  • Teaching and learning are mutual and reciprocal processes. Teachers also learn from their students, and students also teach their instructors.